it's the signifier, stupor
These days, Labov found, the most extreme dialect change in the country is taking place in the Chicago area. “The ‘eah’ sound, which you hear in ‘happened’— heahppened — is a young, very invasive sound that is rapidly changing a number of other sounds around it,” he said. This so-called “Northern Cities Shift” is spreading toward St. Louis along I-55, transforming the Inland North dialect, which used to be the model for standard American pronunciation....
“Slang is just the paint on the hood of the car,” Labov said. “Most of the important changes in American speech are not happening at the level of grammar or language — which used to be the case — but at the level of sound itself.” here
She had this thing she did with her forehead that was like a gun kind of, like it was a gun lying on the table in front of her that she would sort of absently put her hand on, like she would put her hand on it now and again, just to let everybody know what was up. A frown with a lot of anger behind it. A warrior's frown. She was a neo-con ninjette.
Meaning it was intimidating, intentionally so - aggressive, with a lot of violence in back of it.
Her thesis, or talking point, or diversion - I don't what to call it because it doesn't matter, there isn't a pejorative for it, it's a release of chemicals, it doesn't have any higher attributes. here